As I walk on the corners of Nathan Road where I had the fondest memories of my teenage years, I see water cannons and riot police with their rifles and I start coughing from the teargas as I try to find the nearest train station on New Year’s Eve.
In the past three years at this university, I’ve learned a ton. Most of my learning has been done outside of the classroom, however, I have also learned by actively taking part in movements, issues and communities that challenge me to think about the world critically.
I did not understand what it means to be Black in America until I arrived at the University of Michigan. I will never forget attending Campus Day and watching droves of white people walking to the stadium for a football game.
My early life was split between the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Canada and eventually the US. Growing up in these nations with such starkly distinct, often opposing, traditions, languages, religious beliefs and cultural practices has shaped my worldview significantly.